Why Law? Why Now?

September 14, 2010 at 11:40 pm (Applying to Law School)

The economy stinks.  The unemployment rate is sickening.  I get that now is a good time for a lot of people to take a good look at their personal and professional goals and reassess.  Some are now afforded the opportunity (thanks to job loss, etc.) to pursue graduate school.  Now is not, however, the time to run scared – without alternative options – to law school. 

Fortunately, for those of us who have worked in the profession in some capacity, we have a pretty good idea what we are getting in to.  (60+ hour work weeks, billing in 1/10th of an hour increments, higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention heightened divorce rates).  But even still, many of us (myself included) are still determined to make the journey. 

I’ve thought a lot about how I arrived at the decision to pursue a law degree and I thought I would recount it on my blog.  For me, it came in phases.

Phase I.  I took on a third-attorney in 2008. He was a fresh graduate out of law school – and was roughly my age.  I didn’t have a problem with that until he started making comments and insinuating that I couldn’t possibly know what he knew . . .after all, I had no formal education. Admittedly, this made me mad.  But, after my temper cooled I thought to myself . . . if I know all that I know now, sans a formal education, how much more could I learn with formal education?  (And yeah, sure, I wanted to prove I knew it all too).

Phase II.  I asked the managing partner about our firm’s policy on continuing education.  The response was that they would encourage and pay for me to pursue an ABA accredited paralegal certificate program at our local university. 

Phase III.  I immerse myself in my studies and continue to crave and yearn for more legal knowledge.  Not only did I read my assigned textbooks, but I went out of my way to read books that challenged my mind – material that required interpretation and critical thinking about the law.  Entering my final semester was bittersweet.  I didn’t want to see my studies end and I felt like I wasn’t done enriching myself.  I also started to feel confident enough in myself that I knew I would feel suppressed if I wasn’t able to act as an independent thinker, making critical and important decisions for myself.  I also wanted to take the reins and advocate for others (not just helping someone else help others).

Phase IV.  I entered my undergraduate degree program with the sole purpose of pursuing law school.  I reassessed constantly, making sure I wasn’t doing this just because I was bored or insecure with other areas of my life.  I was especially careful to make certain I wasn’t doing this just to prove something to my bosses or prove that I am worthy or respect.  This was truly for me. And, I believe, for the right reasons.

The turth is – law is not a security blanket or a door to financial wealth.  The job market is just as bad as other professions.  There are few who get lucky and make a ton of money. Maybe on movies and t.v., but not in real life. But how happy are they, really?  Only they themselves can know.  Plus, in real life, its not that cool to say “trust me, I’m a lawyer.”  Because trust me, I’ve heard it, and its just pompous.

If your without relevant experience and unsure, I recommend checking out Angela’s blog post, “Top 10 Ways to Test Drive the Law” at Choosing Law School.

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1 Comment

  1. Fridays From the Frontline « Clear Admit: Law School Admissions Blog said,

    […] social and academic pressures that come with classes. Paralegal Journeyer considered the questions of ‘why law’ and ‘why now’. Just This found the perfect LSAT study location: her car. 1L Think.Evolve looked forward to a […]

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